Farmland Finder: Value in a name

Farmland Finder Steven Brockshus, founder of FarmlandFinder.com. Photo courtesy of Steven Brockshus

There was nothing wrong with Terva.Ag, the Ames-based company that serves as an online marketplace for agriculture real estate in Iowa.

But when the software was upgraded, an opportunity to rebrand the company presented itself.

“After talking with customers and clients, brand recognition is really important and we wanted something that was more descriptive of what we help people do,” founder Steven Brockshus says.

So Terva.Ag turned into FarmlandFinder.com.

The software update to FarmlandFinder.com essentially split the product into two sides, Brockshus explained. The customer-facing side allows users to search and find any property for sale in Iowa, for free. Properties can be compared to others in the same county and a new feature allows users to contact a local agent to get more information about the land.

The business-to-business side sells access to historical sales data to farmland professionals.

“Before, we saw the product all as one,” Brockshus says. “But as we started digging into it, our messaging wasn’t very clear and it was hard to describe what you get for free and have to pay for. So we learned if we make more of it accessible, make it more robust and streamlined for folks trying to find land for sale, we can build up that side of the business.”

Having a growth mindset

The focus is going to remain on Iowa but Brockshus said by the end of 2018 he’d like to provide the FarmlandFinder.com service for other Midwest states.

“There’s a lot happening in the space right now,” Brockshus says.

Brockshus said he was able to raise a pre-seed round of funding with a group of Iowa angel investors and will start another funding round by the end of the year to scale the business. He did not want to disclose any deal specifics.

“It’s been great having people right here in the state get behind the idea,” Brockshus said.

Leveraging available resources

Brockshus views himself as a result of Iowa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

He originally started Terva.Ag in 2015 as a student at Iowa State University, in an ag entrepreneurship class. He took advantage of resources at Iowa State University and in the Ames startup community, plus Venture School at the University of Iowa. Brockshus was also a winner at a pitch competition in Western Iowa.

“I feel like I’ve benefited from everyone trying to work together,” Brockshus says. “There’s resources no matter what side of the fence you are on, I’m just grateful to be plugged into all different communities in Iowa. And I know that’s something a lot of communities are working on, to work better with different communities.”

Previous Coverage

Startup Stories: Buying and selling land through Terva.Ag – Nov. 21, 2017

Terva, Smart Ag among nine startups receiving funding – Sept. 25, 2017

ISU grad starts Terva. Ag – July 5, 2017